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l Spain is home to one of the largest mobile markets in Europe. Although mobile penetration exceeded 100% as far back as 2005, subscribers continued to increase, peaking at 58.5 million at year-end 2011. Subscriber numbers have since declined to less than 54 million as the country's economic downturn has residents tightening their belts and cutting unnecessary costs. According to TeleGeography's GlobalComms Database, Spain lost 5.3 million mobile subscribers between 2011 and 2012.

Market leader Movistar, which accounts for 39% of Spanish mobile subscribers, and its closest rival Vodafone Spain both posted significant declines. Movistar's subscriber numbers fell by 3.6 million; however, the operator attributed 2 million disconnections to a new, more conservative counting methodology. Even so, Movistar saw a decrease of 7%, or 1.6 million subscribers, while Vodafone Spain lost 2.2 million, or 13% of its subscribers.